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Dublin: 5°C Tuesday 1 December 2020

We went speed-dating in Valentine’s week. Here’s another 7 things we learned…

Deep breaths.

SO, you have survived another Valentine’s Day. You managed to avoid all the love bugs, cards, flowers and your annoying friends talking about the ‘romantic’ evening they had planned.

But perhaps all this ‘lurrve’ talk has got you thinking, maybe you should put yourself out there more, bite the bullet and try and find ‘your other half’ (okay, we all admit that is just a terrible term).

Obviously, this article is aimed at those of you that are single, and while you often feel that you are alone in this game, turns out you’re not. Let’s be honest, single people on Valentine’s Day are generally split into the cynical avoiders who just go through the day with the shenanigans of St Patrick’s Day to look forward and then there’s the hopeful romantics who get caught up in all the love talk and say, ‘this is going to be my year’. While some of you may have been like this:


Some of you may be like this:


We salute you both. No matter which one you are.

To safe you the pain we decided to take on one dating experience, be your guinea pigs and report back. As you’ve probably guessed, we went speed-dating during the week.

Two reporters from TheJournal.ie, put on our glad rags and headed off into the unknown sea that is Dublin’s speed-dating scene. One guy, one girl, a big bag of nerves between us so we could see what it was all about.

In other words — we went speed-dating so you didn’t have to.

So, here it is, the female take on speed-dating…


1. It’s not as daunting as you think

Okay, admittedly, it is terrifying. You have walked through the door and everyone is looking shifty, but, give yourself  brownie points, the difficult bit is over. I admit, I was trying to play it cool, but I had never done this before, so I had that nervous grin on my face walking in.

Once in the room with a load of people you don’t know, the things that run through your head are – what will they be like? Will some guys be total weirdos? Oh, god, what if they think I’m a weirdo! All these things run through your head.

But, once you are there, honestly, you realise that actually most people are pretty normal and it’s not as bad as you thought. People are pretty normal as it happens and they’re there for the same reason as you, don’t forget that.

2. Don’t hit the booze too hard

You are going to be nervous, of course you are, you’re spending the evening with complete strangers in a, albeit, friendly, but judgement filled room. A nice glass of wine is a must, but it can be easy to get carried away.

One before you start is probably mandatory, then you need another for the whole process but then one can quickly turn into a bottle, so go easy. No body will be interested if you’re slurring your words and can’t walk out of the venue standing upright.


3. It’s efficient and beats the likes of Tinder and POF

Most of us have pretty busy lives and it can be tough sometimes to make room for a ‘love life’. That is what the likes of, Tinder and Plenty of Fish are banking on anyway.

Love and dating has been made so convenient because we are too lazy and busy to get up, get out and actually talk to a human being. Gone are the days when you would go to the local disco or dance, eye up a nice fella and wait for the slow set to come on in the hope that he would ask you to dance.

These days it’s all about the likes of Tinder and POF, which, I’m sorry, take up valuable time. You can often spend hours, if not days of chit chat without anything materialising into a date. Speed-dating is quick and easy.

Chatting to 15 guys for 4 minutes each. Boom, done. No flirty messages, ringing your mates to see what you should write back, should you ask him out or wait. This way, you ask your questions, get your answers and then it’s ‘next’. If he likes you, he likes you, if not, there’s plenty more fish in the sea, as they say.


4. You might meet someone you know

It is Ireland, after all. You can’t swing a cat around a pub without hitting a Mary or John who you used to play with out on the road as a kid. Although you may want to stay anonymous and not have anyone know that you are hitting the speed-dating scene, it is a possibility that you will know someone, as did I.

But fear not, the best way to look at it is the everyone is in the same boat and there for the same reason. Just like when people see someone they know on Tinder, and you have that little tinge of ‘oh, THEY’RE using a dating app,’ and then you quickly realise so are you. And just like you are worried people will know you are using it, you have to realise, THEY ARE TOO.

Just chalk it down to Ireland being as small as a gold fish bowl, have a laugh about it and move on.

5. Be yourself

I’m sounding like an American TV special telling you to ‘be yourself’ but it’s true. There is no point going in there with a load of inflated stories about yourself, because at the end of the day, things might work out and then you are going to have to explain that actually, you are not a stewardess, or an astronaut or a supermodel, but that you actually have a normal nine to five, and be damn proud of it too.

imageDon’t get caught up in a web of lies

6. It’s tiring

You wouldn’t think it, but speed-dating is tiring, so be prepared and maybe have a Berocca before you go. But, think about it. Talking to 15 or so guys for 4 or 5 minutes each.

By the time I got to the last few guys I had to stop myself from sighing in their faces. Not because they were any less interesting than the rest, but because I was exhausted.

Chit-chatting from all things from your job, to where you are from, where you have travelled to, is this your first time here etc, it all takes its toll. By the end of it, I had had the same conversation so many times I could hardly remember who I told what to who!

7.  Give a guy a chance

Let’s admit it, ladies. Irish single girls hunt in packs and what is great about speed-dating is that it gets you out of the herd and out on your own. It is you and a boy, face to face, talking.

That’s all it is, it can’t be that scary, right? But as some of the men admitted to me that night, it can be difficult to talk to women on a night out, for the very reason that we rarely let one break through the line of our friends and when we do, if we like them, great, we let them chat away and maybe buy us a drink.

But, if we don’t and we judge them straight off the bat, they can barely get a word out. Women rarely give a man props for walking across a room to a bunch of girls to make small talk with a woman and at least speed-dating gives men a chance to start a conversation, and give us women a chance to listen, be it only for four minutes or so.

imageDon’t judge, girls.

So, after an hour or so, having chatted to about 15  men, it was over. My card had a bunch of men’s names on it. Some were ticked yes, while others were in the no column. We all handed up our cards and were told that if we matched we would get an email in a couple of days.

While some legged it out of there, some hovered around and had another drink. Me and my fellow colleague decided we would do the same. May as well chat to some people while there isn’t a clock ticking.

It was a good idea too, as when everyone were taken out of ‘speed-dating mode’ everyone was relaxed (most likely because we all had had a few glasses of wine) but also because everyone could exhale that it was over.

Was it what I expected it to be? No. It was much more relaxed and not as scary as I always assumed it was. The people were friendly, nice and surprisingly, normal. So, if you are feeling a little lonely at the end of this Valentine’s weekend, why not give it a go.

Check out a guy’s take on speed-dating here>We went speed-dating in Valentine’s week. Here’s 7 things we learned…

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